As I mentioned previously, some of our chickens have not had a tail feather to shake since Lucifer (the extremely mean guinea hen) pulled them out. They have been bare butted ever since; as once there is some skin to peck the birds continue to do so. This drives me crazy! We have a rooster- Little Jerry (my husband named him after the Seinfeld episode) with one very mangy tail feather on one very red butt. It’s just not right.
Their diet has been changed a bit to adjust for the egg eating as well as to aid in feather regrowth and hinder and feather eating. I haven’t noticed any feather eating but it can be a sign of low protein. They get a little extra protein and cod liver oil- 1 tbsp. of oil to two and a half gallons feed. The problem now is that any bit of fuzz that appears gets plucked.
There are quite a few reasons chickens loose their feathers, everything from the natural yearly molt, to mites and fleas, to other chicken illnesses. If you have chickens that are losing feathers give them a good “check up” to find the cause and don’t just assume that they are plucking because they are rowdy. I have checked mine and have been watching the flock enough to know it is just a peck-n-run problem. Also I think there is a couple birds that the pull tail feathers of those in front of them during the night while sitting on the roost.
I did find that three of the feather-less girls were in need of a little first aid as well. Betty had an healing but open sore under her wing, which after watch her a few minutes I could see was due to her own pecking. A little peroxide then the blu-kote fixed her up. Lola and Phyllis both had rather sizeable cuts that appeared to be from a chicken foot. They were given the same treatment. Everyone appears to be well on the mend now. I’m just glad we are not in a maggot season. That was rather unpleasant to deal with last summer. See Wilma’s story for more on maggots.
To deter further feather/skin pecking, I have coated each bare rump with some Blu-Kote. This is a germicidal, fungicidal, I used the spray form, that helps heal any open wounds but also leaves a blue-ish, purple dye on the skin. Just the color change from pink (or red in Little Jerry’s case) to dark blue will stop the birds from plucking feathers or skin. Allowing the birds to heal and grow some fresh feathers.
A tip when using the Blu-Kote, wear gloves and apply it after your morning coffee. I made my way to the coop as usual to do the early morning chores, managed to catch one chicken and spray it before I realized I wasn’t wearing gloves. Try telling your co-workers why your hands are blue…
“Well you see, it was early when I was doing chores, and I needed to spray my chicken’s butts blue…”
At that point you will get a very curious look as they back up slightly, because you sound crazy.
It’s best to just wear the gloves.